SEOUL, June 10 (UPI) -- In a bid to attract more curious tourists, North Korea has opened a symbolic mountain to foreign runners in August.
North Korea travel specialist Koryo Tours is offering the option of running a half-marathon around North Korea's Mt. Paektu as part of a five-day, four-night tour, Voice of America reported Wednesday.
The package marks the first time North Korean authorities have permitted foreign access to a mountain that is symbolic to North Korea's dynastic leadership.
North Korea has claimed the nation's founder Kim Il Sung led campaigns of anti-colonial resistance from the mountain. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been depicted as scaling Mt. Paektu, in a bid to solidify his legacy in North Korea.
The tour is scheduled for August 18 to 22, and is to begin in Pyongyang. After two days in North Korea's capital, the tour would take travelers to Mount Paektu. The travel itinerary would include visits to Lake Chonji, Lee Myong Su waterfall and a secret base, according to Koryo Tours.
Participants have the choice of running a half-marathon, a ten-kilometer race or walking the distance, if exercising at an elevated range is not an option for the traveler.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported North Korea had declared Mt. Paektu a special tourism zone in April.
In early June, North Korea's state-controlled media outlet announced construction began on a railway connecting the North Korean city of Hyesan to Samjiyon town, the area close to the mountain. The railway, if completed, could ease transportation to the area.